Bath salts have been a hot topic of discussion this summer, ever since a gruesome and horrifying attack on the side of a Miami causeway attributed to the drug left one man dead and one gravely injured, missing more than 70% of his face.
Bath salts were immediately cited by police as the cause when Rudy Eugene attacked homeless man Ronald Poppo, and the fact that he was shot once by police without stopping before he continued to chew upon the other man’s face led many to speculate that a substance like bath salts drove Eugene’s bizarre behavior on the night he was killed.
(Also, many jokes about a zombie apocalypse followed.)
In recent weeks, bath salts keep popping up in the news as a factor in similar, yet less serious, attacks. Reports of all kinds of flesh-eating behavior have abounded, and the public is well and truly frightened of this new, synthetic drug that has yet to be banned.
But, we learned today, the man responsible for the face-eating attack in Miami was not on bath salts. Which is kind of interesting, as this whole story was dripping with the hallmarks of a moral panic from the outset.
CBS quotes Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Hyma, as well as autopsy reports on Eugene:
“Hyma’s office specifically ruled out Bath Salts, a class of synthetic drugs that have been known to cause bizarre behavior and overheating of people who use them, two things that made some believe Eugene’s cannibalistic behavior was to blame on the drugs.
“’The department has also sought the assistance of an outside forensic toxicology reference laboratory, which has confirmed the absence of “bath salts,” synthetic marijuana and LSD,’ the report said.”
Why police initially suspected bath salts in Eugene’s bizarre face-eating rampage remains to be seen.